Talks with Pakistan will continue: India
* External Affairs Ministry says it won’t allow ‘transient development’ to overshadow process
By Iftikhar Gilani
NEW DELHI: India has said that it will continue “sustained and comprehensive” dialogue with Pakistan seriously and will not allow “transient developments” and “contradictory pronouncements” from across the border to overshadow the process.
Listing its achievements in 2004, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday that the new Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had put behind a “reactive policy”, which frequently oscillated between euphoria and despair. “The government’s confidence in taking this process forward is reflected in the number of wide-ranging confidence building measures that it has put on the table, including several on a unilateral basis,” said the ministry in a year end review.
It said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had clearly enunciated the parameters within which India sought peace with Pakistan. Mr Singh, who met Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New York in September and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz when he came to India as SAARC chairman, has emphatically stated that there is no question of redrawing the international border or further dividing the country on the basis of religion.
India’s relations with China have been intensified. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is slated to visit India in March 2005. National Security Advisor and Special Representative JN Dixit held two rounds of talks with his Chinese counterpart Dai Bingguo on the boundary question.
Relations with the US are ‘special’, as both are vibrant democracies. “India’s relations (with the US) are being expanded across the board,” the ministry said.
Mr Singh met President George W Bush in New York in September that resulted in a strong reaffirmation of the strategic partnership between both countries, the ministry said. India’s perspectives on specific issues may be different and that may lead to differences in policies. However, it shared a great enduring affinity with the US as people wedded to the democratic values.
The review also said New Delhi had conveyed its concern of the US decision to supply arms to Pakistan. It pointed out that such a move at a time when the India-Pakistan dialogue was at a “sensitive stage”, would have a negative impact. Also, that it would have an adverse fallout on the goodwill the US enjoyed in India. The government has made it clear that it will not hesitate to take steps to ensure that India’s defence preparedness is not compromised in any way.
The ministry claimed that the UPA government had come out with a foreign policy that was “purposeful, result-oriented and pro-active”. “India today enjoys a unique profile in the international arena as a factor of stability, a model of plural and secular democracy and an economic powerhouse that is destined to play a greater role in the international affairs,” it said.